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Thread: Carronades fire power.

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    Default Carronades fire power.

    As you know I have been studying the power of fortifications of late, and this made me reconsider another area which I have been interested in whilst building my Carronade. When the carronade rule was introduced I just accepted it for what it was. In return for being able to load and fire every turn as the gun was shorter lighter and easier to manover, we sacrificed range, as the fact is that carronades were extremely inaccurate at long ranges even though they still had the power to inflict damage. Fair enough. Then I looked at reports of the "Smashers in action" and realised the real reason for employing them at close range. and why they came into more general use was that they were far more lethal than the ball fired from a standard deck gun. Should they, therefore, not have an extra bonus above the simple B chit which any gun fires when used at close range? Maybe something similar to a raking shot rounded up by a chit extra for every three delivered, or if this seems too draconian, perhaps just an extra chit for each deck mounting them?

    Your thoughts would be welcome.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Actually the problem with carronades was not effective firing range, but effective *aiming* range with their sharply tapered contours. At least the flared "bell" at the muzzle of a traditional cannon restored a parallel-to-bore sight line for the most part.

    They do seem kinda weak... if we switched carronades to drawing 2 A's instead of a B per chit, how does that change the Damage Expectancy?
    --Diamondback
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    That sounds a possibility DB. I will give it a trial and see.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Bangers and smash.

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    Very good Gary.
    Nearly as bad as one of mine!
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    I feel like we need more real world examples of Carronades -vs- Cannons firing side by side. I propose to start a new youtube channel to conduct actual test firing of all the 18th century naval artillery. I'm gonna need some funding... ;)

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    Setting that up would be a challenge. I would not like to test fire a 200 year old Carronade nor cannon with the full charge they would have used in their day. Nor would I think it an easy maytter to find the owner of one of these antiques who was happy to have them used in this way.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Setting that up would be a challenge. I would not like to test fire a 200 year old Carronade nor cannon with the full charge they would have used in their day. Nor would I think it an easy maytter to find the owner of one of these antiques who was happy to have them used in this way.
    Rob.
    Nor a foundry that could properly cast new specimens to the original spec using the original processes...
    --Diamondback
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    Exactly DB.
    When I was involved with the artillery, they had a 32 pounder Bronze cannon cast by the Bell Foundry. It looked splendid but when it underwent its X ray scan it failed on several points that even the Proof Shop had not picked up on, and could not be fired. It ended up being one heck of a lot of money wasted for a garden ornament. Michaels idea was a nice one though!

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    This is also very interesting Jonas.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9LBGIyv0Ys

    Thanks for pointing it out..
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Line of metal range of a carronade and gun are essentially the same (slightly favouring the carronade if anything).

    At around half that range, the shot will hit high/long over the aim point made by centre of the top line (slightly more than the half way mark, especially for higher velocity guns, but carronades are closer to the half way mark due to lower resistance and velocity loss from their lower starting velocity).

    The height of Apex varies between around 7-9ft for guns above the line of metal, while that for carronades rises as high as 30-33ft...

    This is enough to make uncompensated fire ineffective at around 300-500 yds, while permitting accurate fires at ~ 700-800 yds, while guns can deliver effective fires from the muzzle to around 600 yds without a break. (assuming weapons mounted at the same level... with the higher mounting of carronades on galliards, the rise is even more obnoxious and the dispart sights are required to provide accurate pointing at closer ranges).

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    Sounds like the order of the day was something that a century and a half later SAC called an "Offset Aimpoint"... in this case, if you know the carronade is 30' high at 500yd adjust your aimpoint 30' BELOW your intended target; in the case of a three-decker make your aimpoint somewhere on the waterline and you probably get a UD hit.
    --Diamondback
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    The carronades from around 1784 (i.e. very soon after development) got a notched foresight block to give the line of metal (roughly 3 degrees) as well as two other intermediate elevations (no high quality measurements or images to scale, but I'd assume 1 and 2 degrees) and the fully disparted line of sight (e.g. no elevation). Accurate use of sights takes longer than only lining up the top line, but this necessary step would significantly improve accuracy as long as you could persuade gunners (and the officers on the ship) of the importance of sights... This was an uphill struggle until the 1820s though, with Nelson being very against sights, and not untypical).

    Guns of the naval pattern tend to be close to 1 degree line of metal.

    Field artillery *did* use sights extensively, notably also tangent sights to provide a point of aim out to 1500-2000 yds depending on nature. Navies were a little slower in taking up sophisticated sights - relying on the top line, and quartersights or quoin/bed elevation marks. This is in part a consequence of the unsteady platform, but this was compensated in it's turn by the density of ordnance deployed (Waterloo, with ~50,000 men had only 28 artillery brigades or troops ~ roughly the same number as on three first rates, and all of 9pdr or smaller guns, or 24pdr/5.5" howitzers...

    As to firepower. Carronades are always at the upper end of the calibre range for a given ship (a First rate armed with 32pdr, 24pdr and 12pdr guns will carry 32dpr carronades (rarely a smaller number of 42 or 68 pdr pieces), while a fifth rate might be armed with 18pdr and 9pdr guns and 32pdr carronades.
    Carronade ball has no 'special' character compared to that from gun of the same bore, and the use of reduced powder charge and double shot can give guns a lower muzzle velocity than a carronade - as well as permitting single shot to be fired at a higher velocity in the approximate ratio of around 15:9 - which can be used to obtain a marginal penetration to an extended distance, or to obtain similar penetration from a smaller shot.
    A 32pdr carronade will penetrate to a similar depth as 18pdr guns at typical combat ranges, with a larger 'cutting' distance (6" vs 5", roughly, which is similar to the relative degree of rigging damage and injury to framing). The 9pdr that stand in the same battery will penetrate less well except at extremely close ranges, and will make holes only 4" in diameter, cutting less rigging, and injuring less framing.

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    Very interesting. Where did you get this wealth of information Dave. I have been looking for years.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Somebody shoulda asked the Admiralty which was more expensive between sights for well-placed single shots vs a mass of wasted cannonballs on the bottom of the ocean... have to put it in accounting terms for the turdsucking beancounters to understand.
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    Well said sir. As Comptroller of the Board, you may be able to influence the Admiralty to buck their ideas up on both this and allowing more powder for practice firing.
    Bligh.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    There has been some live fire demonstrations. Here is one that may be familiar using a replica of a 32lb carronades from the Niagara

    http://https://youtu.be/XfsuIaTU92Y

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Very interesting. Where did you get this wealth of information Dave. I have been looking for years.
    Rob.
    A mix of the extant firing tables, along with the period tables of dimensions, drawings etc from a variety of (mostly) free books from Google, and a few purchased copies of those which looked useful, but were incomplete/unreadable.

    Plus drag data from Bashforth, and later data from NACA/NASA and an excel sheet to interpolate and to provide a consistent basis of measurement, to allow for direct comparison between French and British ordnance, and to give an estimated performance for guns only weakly described.
    One of the more important books is the Lafay "Aide Memoire d'Artillerie Navale", as it has a reasonably competent and usable estimate of V0 performance for ordnance, of a consistent basis including the ability to explore defects in shot size and variation in windage.

    Black powder has a tendency to be variable, so a choice of stronger or weaker performance could be argued for any piece, but the general scale is consistent with the published data, and it can be queried and modified to provide questions to the answers.

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    Thank you for the info. That is going to keep me going for a while then, as I investigate that little lot.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondback View Post
    Somebody shoulda asked the Admiralty which was more expensive between sights for well-placed single shots vs a mass of wasted cannonballs on the bottom of the ocean... have to put it in accounting terms for the turdsucking beancounters to understand.
    Foresights on guns tended to wood on the ports, damaging both the sight and the port. As there was a degree of motion, dwell on firing and general inaccuracy due to windage and roundshot deviating at long ranges from induced rotation, the precision of a single shot was not considered *vital*. An amount of inaccuracy is also helpful when ranging and pointing cannot be relied upon - some of the misses fired in the wrong places will hit. Getting the middle of the group relatively tight helps with adjusting fires, and getting the crews consistent in pointing and the junior officers good at range estimation/calculation according to sextant angles of e.g. the maintop of that '74' can make quite a bit of difference in how much of the fire will land on the target.

    Practice was often at an old cask or a raft and screen, with prizes for hits on it. and the French at least practiced for their point en blanc firing (with relatively poor practice at closer 'decisive' range being perhaps a training issue and a failure to aim below the target at half range). Their ability to cripple English fleets and wear away through over a century of fleet actions, before the English return fires were effective does suggest more practice at longer distances - and John Clerk (with footnotes from Lord Rodney) indicates that ranges as close as 400yds were seldom achieved, with battle descriptions suggesting fires from 1200-700yds deciding the engagement in most cases in the French favour - though with the French continuing with their strategic missions, rather than doubling down on the destruction of the English fleets.

  22. #22
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    The parsimonious attitude of the Admiralty in restricting live practice firing is well documented, and several Captains who felt that practice lead to a better rate of fire had to purchase extra powder out of their own pockets to enable this extra training to take place.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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